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Ava Is 29 Months Old

Independence/Motor Skills

  • Most mornings Ava asks for pictures or videos of various animals.  She loves seeing kitties and puffins.  Sometimes she requests videos of animals pooping.  we watched a video of a puffin that poops at the end and then we spent a whole evening finding videos of puffins pooping.  The next week Ava wanted pictures of horses pooping, which I must tell you is quite gross.
  • Ava has progressed with potty training.  She almost exclusively poops in the potty now and we’re working on peeing.  There were a couple times where she woke up asking to pee in the middle of the night, which was less than ideal.  She also uses peeing as a delay tactic at night.
  • Art is still incredibly important to Ava.  She’s really interested in different techniques, such as Pointilism, and she was fascinated when I showed her Seurat paintings.


Foods and Liquids

  • It’s easier to list the things that Ava doesn’t like than to list the things she likes.  She dislikes leafy greens, farro, watermelon gazpacho, and anything that is spicy.
  • Right now she’s really obsessed with sweets.  She thinks all cakes are birthday cakes.  Anytime I make cake or bread, Ava hones in on it.  There was one day that I bought a baguette.  Ava grabbed it and started gnawing on the end.


  • We’ve gone back to trying to get Ava to nap during the weekends at all costs.  She doesn’t like to fall asleep in her bed, but she’s willing to sleep in a swing or the car.  So we started driving south on a major road until she falls asleep.

Thank you Tiffany!


Language Skills

  • Ava knows the names of her favorite books and she’s learning all the words in them.
    • Tonight we went through Dino Bites almost ten times and by the end she was reciting most of the text.
    • Ava also has a book called “Where Is Huggle Buggle Bear?” and Ava talks about Hubble Bubble Bear.  It’s so cute.
  • Ava is great at telling you about important events.
    • Ava was taking Teddy on a walk with her nanny and Teddy got so excited by another dog that he ran away from Ava and knocked her down.  All day Ava talked about how she had a “big bump!”
    • I went shopping with Jon and Ava.  Jon took Ava out of the store for 10 minutes so I could finish shopping.  When I got out and found them, Ava said “Mommy, I got stuck!  I got stuck!”  Jon explained that they walked up to the water tower until they reached a gate.  While Jon was trying to point out the water tower to Ava, she tried to slip through the gate and got stuck.  Ava eventually got unstuck, but she was traumatized.  All day and the next day she kept saying “I got stuck!”
  • Ava continues to say phrases that I’m not familiar with, such as “Don’t you dare.”
  • One cute phrase includes “Good job kitty!”
  • Every time Ava sees a baby anything (cat, human, etc.) she says it wants its mommy.
  • Ava pairs everything up with a mommy and a baby.  There’s also a daddy if there’s three.  This even applies to inanimate objects likes leaves.

Doesn’t she look like a JCrew ad?


Wheeler Farm

Ava is so much fun.  She has all these funny phrases and she speaks constantly.  My favorite right now is when she says “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.”  She’s also started reciting the text in her books.  Before she would point to books and name them, but now she can recite half of Goodnight Moon.


A couple weeks ago I took Ava to Wheeler Farm.  Her favorite part was taking a ride through the farm.  She kept yelling at each of the animal pens “Bye bye chickens, bye bye sheep…”


Bye bye horses.


Ava enjoyed the horses because they allowed her to pet them.  I was happy to see that when a horse put his giant face right in front of her, she was cautious about petting him.  Ava is so fearless about so many things, it’s great to see one area where she displays some caution.



She had a lot of fun in an area full of chickens and roosters because two roosters were having a crowing competition.  But her favorite animals were the donkeys because they let her pet them and they ate grass out of her hand.  Plus, their “hee haws” were deafeningly loud.


Ava is 28 Months Old

Independence/Motor Skills

  • Ava can climb all the playground equipment now with little hesitation.  She loves it.
  • Ava has been potty training for the past few weeks.  It’s a very slow process that so far involves getting her to use the potty.  Instead of the classic motivator of candy, her reward is a squirt of lotion.  She’s obsessed with lotion.  Sometimes she keeps it in her hand for an hour.  If it accidentally comes off, she yells, “Oh, my lotion mommy, my lotion!”
  • This week she actually told her nanny that she needed to use the potty before she started pooping so we’re making progress.  The funny part is she’s very invested in the poop.  She asks what the poop is doing and she always says goodbye to it.  She even sings it a song sometimes.


Foods and Liquids

  • Ava still eats very well.  She loves sushi, onion rings, and ice cream.  She’s a bit too obsessed with ice cream so we’ve been trying to deflect her with fruit instead of ice cream.


  • Ava has a very complicated nighttime ritual that involves wrapping up stuffed animals in blankets.  She’s also so tall now that she can’t get comfortable enough in a chair to fall asleep in my arms.  As a result, she goes right to asking to fall asleep in “mommy’s bed.”  She brings all her animals with her.  After she falls asleep I transfer several of them back to her room.  After all, it’s difficult to sleep with an ape, a duck, a seahorse, a dinosaur, a kitty, an Iron Man, George, and a bunny.  Sometimes she wakes up in the middle of the night and demands additional animals.  The other night she woke up at 4 a.m. and insisted that I grab her plastic owl.


Language Skills

  • Ava has been confusing the word “acorn” with “popcorn” so she’ll ask us to make acorns, which is super cute.
  • Ava’s books have been taking on a different interpretation because she’s very engaged in the stories.  On Saturday we spent about 10 minutes talking about a book with a dog that wanted to eat salsa, but the salsa was too spicy.  She wouldn’t let me turn the page because she was so worked up about the dog.  She kept saying, “No doggie, go away.  Too spicy!”
  • If you need to teach Ava a concept, such as a new word, she often wants you to repeat it several times.  I find it so interesting to see how she learns language.
  • Ava has been using “I can’t do it,” “I like it,” and “I don’t like it” lately.  The can’t do it is used often in times of struggle, like when she’s climbing a ladder at the playground.  Telling us that she likes or doesn’t like something is very helpful.
  • When Ava wakes up in the morning, she always wants to play in the bed.  I can get her downstairs by asking if she wants to see the birdies.  One time Stonewall let her kiss him, so now every morning she says “I kiss Stonewall?”



The garden had an aphid problem this year.  Instead of spraying pesticides on the plants, Jon had the great idea of releasing ladybugs.  Did you know that you can buy them and have them shipped in the mail?!  Ava was a huge fan of releasing the ladybugs.  She loved it when they crawled up her arm.  For days after the release we would go searching for ladybugs to put on her arms.



In total we released over 10,000 ladybugs, but they didn’t stick around for too long.  I kept expecting neighbors to comment on how their yards were covered in ladybugs.


Also, can we talk about how insane the garden is this year?!  I’ve been making so many amazing meals with food from the garden and our CSA.  We planted eight tomato plants and they’re all producing at least some tomatoes.  There’s one we call Hercules that produces heirloom tomatoes.  It tried to take over two adjacent tomato plants and all the pepper plants in the back.  So far I’m keeping up with the tomatoes, but I’m on the precipice.  It helped that I made stuffed tomatoes from 12 tomatoes on Friday.

These pictures are from a month ago.  It’s even more extreme now.  The tomatoes in the second picture have crawled up the tree and and taller than nine feet tall.



I’ve been experimenting with pruning, but I don’t think I’m doing enough of it.

I share an office with the cockatiels.  Most of the time it’s great because I have company during the day.


For the past few weeks, the cockatiels have been ridiculously nesty, though.  Trevor and Stonewall will fly to the floor to try and find a place to nest.  Conner will join them later if I haven’t put them back on their cages.  This might be okay except they get territorial.  Stonewall will fight with Trevor.  Trevor has decided that his nest should be under my desk.  He started attacking my feet.


Conner would love to sit on my shoulder all day, but since Stonewall and Trevor will fight for his attention while he’s on me, it becomes chaos.  Stonewall will let me cuddle him a little bit.  Trevor occasionally likes to fly over and preen my hair.


The main struggle with sharing my office with the birds is conference calls.  I frequently have video conferences and I don’t want to talk to clients with birds flying around in the background.

Ava has been really interested in the birds lately.  Her first request in the morning is usually, “I see birdies?”  She loves to look at them and she would love to hold them, although that won’t happen for another few years.  Ava has learned Stonewall’s name and identity, but she has trouble distinguishing between Trevor and Conner.  Sometimes Ava will sneak away from her nanny during the day and will try to get to see me in the office.  She’ll knock on my door, saying “Knock, knock, helloo!”  It’s really cute and sometimes problematic if I’m on a conference call.

Ava is 27 Months Old

Independence/Motor Skills

  • Ava’s experimentation with fear is lessening.  She’s scared of thunder and lightening, but she has no problem with slides.
  • She’s getting very bossy.  She’s always asking me or her nanny in the mornings first to go outside, then to drive her somehwere.  I keep taking her to the same park up the hill because it’s more shaded than our nearby park.  Also, it’s in the fancy part of town so the kids are more well behaved than our local park where parents often send their kids because they don’t want to parent.


Foods and Liquids

  • Ava is such a great eater.  She will generally eat anything except leafy greens.  She may not like the food, but she’s at least willing to try it.
  • Right now Ava eats a poached egg for breakfast; a lunch of various things like yogurt, fruit, and pasta; and a dinner that is similar to ours, but often toned down so it’s not as spicy or flavorful.


  • The same.  Sleep in your own bed, Ava!  If Ava goes several days without taking a nap, I do anything I can to get her to nap because she starts tantrumming around 4pm.  She will get mad over nothing and throw herself on the floor, screaming.


Language Skills

  • Ava is able to identify 14 types of birds: macaw, duck, chicken, goose, peacock, flamingo, owl, crow, penguin,  turkey, woodpecker, seagull, toucan, and puffin.
  • She is starting to connect concepts together.  Tonight we were talking about the sunset and Ava said “Night comes after the sun goes down.”  Also, her nanny taught her that “Bees make honey” so she yells that every time she sees a bee.



Our nanny was on vacation last week so we stayed at home with Ava.  It was a nice opportunity to listen to her ever-increasing vocabulary.  She absorbs words from everywhere and she has some cute phrases.

  • Ava says “heave, ho” when she’s trying to pull something
  • I asked Ava if she was ready for dinner and she said “Yummy in my tummy.”

We’ve been watching a lot of Daniel Tiger, which is great for teaching Ava about appropriate ways to respond to emotions.  For example, Daniel Tiger taught Ava that she should hold my hand when she’s scared.  Unfortunately, Daniel Tiger also taught Ava that she should be scared of fireworks and thunderstorms.  Ava will say, “I’m scared mommy, hold hands?”


Normally we would go somewhere for vacation, but this time we decided to stay home.  It’s so much work to travel with a toddler and baby-proof your new location.  It was so much easier to stay with her in the house where the dangerous things have been removed.  Also, we got to do all the fun things around town that we don’t have time for during the weekend.  My favorite is the Natural History Museum.  Ava goes there all the time with her nanny so she knows the place really well.


Ava is starting to become both very independent and very affectionate.  I asked her if she wanted help with something and she said, “No, mommy, I do it myself.”  But she’s also started saying that she loves me.  She’ll say “Oh, mommy” as if she hasn’t seem me for weeks, “I wuv you!”  And then she’ll put her arms around my neck.  It’s the best.


We have a window that creates rainbows at about 10:30 a.m. every morning.  Ava is always very excited to become covered in rainbows.  I can’t even capture on film how magical it looks, but you can catch a glimpse.


Ava Is 26 Months Old


Ava is a walking talking little person.  She’s a bit irrational about things, but incredibly charming.


Independence/Motor Skills

  • Ava’s independence is being tempered by her experimenting with the concept of fear.  For example, when Ava visited a new park, she wouldn’t go on the tallest slide because she was scared.
  • However, she is still fine with running away from me in the grocery store.  Ava’s latest trick is to run far enough away that I’m not visible.  Then she runs up to people and falls down.  She pretends to be hurt and asks the people for help.  Sometimes she lays it on extra thick and starts crying for mommy.  Ava thinks this is hilarious.  I’m amused by the concept, but a bit frustrated when it’s occurring to me.  The last step is that she will fall down and when she sees me, she’ll say that her butt hurts.  Then she’ll ask me to kiss it.  But the joke is on Ava because I’ll kiss any part of her.
  • I always thought Ava was in a mommy phase, but I had no idea.  Ava has now reached the pinnacle of a mommy phase.  Last weekend I had trouble making simple meals because Ava couldn’t go more than five minutes without touching me or being held.  It’s hard to chop vegetables with one hand because a toddler is in the other hand.
  • Ava is very creative with her play.  She took a pan from her toy cooking supplies and put these magnets on it that are in the shape of sticks.  Ava arranged the magnets along the edge of the pan.  She presented it to Jon as a birthday cake.
  • Ava loves to wrestle with her dad.  Her favorite activity is to do somersaults over Jon’s leg.


Foods and Liquids

Ava was eating lightly for awhile, but she’s been voraciously eating in the last few days.  Ava enjoys 1-2 eggs for breakfast and ice cream, for lunch she eats fruit and yogurt, she has a snack in the afternoon that also includes ice cream or a push pop, and a dinner that is a simplified version of ours.  Also, she drinks lots and lots of milk.


Ava’s sleep is still transitioning out of the nap.  Some weekends she doesn’t take any naps, some weekends she takes a 1.5 hour naps.  At bedtime she likes me to read books over and over again.  Sometimes I’ll read a book seven times in a night.


Language Skills

  • Ava’s up to being able to identify ten types of birds:  macaw, duck, chicken, goose, peacock, flamingo, owl, crow, penguin,  turkey, woodpecker, and seagull (okay birders, I know there’s not a bird called a seagull but I’m not going to get a two year old to identify a Glaucous Gull).  She’s close to identifying eagles and toucans, but she has a lot of false positives.
  • Ava gets very involved in television shows and she likes to narrate the shows for us.  “Oh no.  Baba Boo all gone!”
  • She’s very in touch with three emotions now: happy, sad, and scared.  If she’s scared, she wants to touch me for support and sometimes we need to stop watching a television show.  She experiments with the concept too.  She’ll tell you she’s scared and she wants to be comforted even though nothing really happened.  I think it’s important to validate her feelings so that even if she’s not actually scared, she knows that we’re there to support and comfort her.
  • Ava remembers events and will recount them for you.  One day a cat outside got mad at Ava petting her and jumped on her head.  Several hours later when Jon came home from work Ava told him all about it.
  • Ava has been categorizing things based on her family unit.  She likes to categorize any object, from beads to bears, as a daddy object, a mommy object, and a baby object.  She’s included our nanny in the categorization.  Our nanny’s name is Linda.  The other day we were playing with a three-year old and her grandmother.  Ava kept calling her grandmother Linda.  I think Ava believes all grandmothers are called Linda.

An Artist Is Born

Ava is very artistic.  For two straight weeks, every morning she asked me to set up her paints during breakfast.  Since Jon got her an easel, she waits until after breakfast to use it outside.  She takes painting very seriously.


In the picture above, Ava is also wearing one of my shirts as a dress.  I’m bad about folding my laundry, but I’m getting better now that she keeps pilfering clothing from the laundry basket.

I discovered that finger painting is probably too advanced for a two-year old.  She loved it, but I had to take her away from the paints before the entire backyard was covered in paints.  Ava also wound up pretty messy.


Most of her artwork involves requests for someone to draw Peppa Pig.  When she branches out and asks for a cat or another animal, it’s very exciting.  On the plus side, I can draw a fantastic Peppa Pig.



“It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.”



Since I work from home and we aren’t very social people, I don’t get a lot of social interaction.  So I was really surprised recently when I talked to an examiner at the USPTO.  I had called him to ask about the status of a case.  He asked me if I was on the East Coast and I responded that I was on Mountain time because I live in Utah.  I guess he took that to mean I am conservative because he said that he lives in Colorado but it’s tough for him because they limited the gun laws so he can’t buy AR-15’s.  He went on to say that he doesn’t like Denver because it doesn’t look like the United States.

I’ve been mulling over the conversation for a few weeks and I have three distinct thoughts.

1. Stop complaining about immigrants

This examiner kept complaining about immigrants.  In addition to complaining that Denver is too diverse, he complained about how hard it is to work at the USPTO because he has to work with non-native speakers.  He said he used to only understand 70% of what his boss says and now it’s up to 80% but he feels that it’s harming his ability to do quality work.

I found his comments to be outrageous.  First off, I don’t understand why people complain about immigrants being in the United States.  With the exception of Native Americans, the essence of America is that it was founded by immigrants.  In the beginning it was people from Britain, France, Spain, etc.  And now it’s people from Mexico, South America, India, etc.  If you live in the U.S. you need to accept that it’s a diverse country.  Sure, you can live in your little uniform pockets.  Believe me, I know, I live in Utah.  But the major cities are going to be diverse.  That’s never going to change.

Second, he picked one of the worst places to work if he doesn’t like immigrants.  I think 50% of the examiners I talk to were born outside the U.S.  And for the most part, they’re reasonable people.  This examiner is the worst person I’ve ever interacted with at the USPTO because he’s so intolerant.

The goal should be to embrace our differences and learn from them.  One of the best things I’ve ever done is visit China.  I never realized until that trip that a culture could be so different from mine.  And that’s fantastic.  I’ve been learning about Chinese culture and cooking, and it’s fascinating.  Life is boring if you stay in the same place and only interact with people that look like you who share your same beliefs.

2. No one wants to hear about your take on guns

This examiner lectured me about how Colorado is passing the wrong kind of gun laws and limiting his ability to buy the guns that he wants to buy.  Even if I was pro-gun, this discussion would have been uncomfortable because of his fervor surrounding gun rights.  Don’t discuss guns at work.  No one is going to change my stance; no one is going to change your stance.

3. Don’t talk politics when you’re in a position of power

I really want this examiner to allow the case he’s examining.  That means I’m not in a position where I can be blunt and tell the examiner he was being inappropriate.  And he should know that.  It was very telling that this examiner said at the end of our conversation, “I hope I didn’t say anything that was too politically incorrect.”  That is a person who knows that everything he said was politically incorrect.  This examiner was probably lonely since he works from home and quite possibly has few friends given that they would have to be pro-gun white males to satisfy his requirements, but that’s no excuse.  Maybe he should welcome some diversity in his life just so he can have someone to talk to.



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